Posts Tagged ‘soil association’

Organic yields in Africa

7 December, 2010

“UN research has shown that the adoption of organic and near-organic farming practices in Africa has improved yields by 116%, improved access to food for both farmers and local communities, and raised incomes.”

Isobel Tomlinson, Policy and Campaigns officer at the Soil Association
The Guardian – 7 December 2010


Localisation is the way ahead

1 December, 2010

“Localisation stands, at best, at the limits of practical possibility, but it has the decisive argument in its favour that there will be no alternative.”

Dr David Fleming (1940-2010), who passed away peacefully in his sleep this week, was chair of the Soil Association from 1985 to 1990 . He is described by Rob Hopkins as ‘one of the elders of the Green movement, a peak oil pioneer, a visionary, compassionate and wise soul.’

We need to rethink on Phosphorous

29 November, 2010

Recently I asked the SA when we would be allowed to recycle sewage to avoid wasting nutrients – and they said it’s all down to European regulations on organic standards. It’s great that they are now campaigning to do just that.

– Jason Ball

“A radical rethink of how we farm, what we eat and how we deal with human excreta, so that adequate phosphorus levels can be maintained without reliance on mined phosphate, is crucial for ensuring our future food supplies.”
Dr Isobel Tomlinson, Soil Association policy and campaigns officer and author of the report ‘A rock and a hard place: Peak phosphorus and the threat to our food security’, November 2010

A new report from the Soil Association reveals that supplies of phosphate rock are running out faster than previously thought and that declining supplies and higher prices of phosphate are a new threat to global food security. ‘A rock and a hard place: Peak phosphorus and the threat to our food security’ highlights the urgent need for farming to become less reliant on phosphate rock-based fertiliser.
The Times (27 Nov)
Press release: New threat to global food security as phosphate supplies become increasingly scarce
Download the report here

Feeding the animals…

20 October, 2010

Yesterday we attended the launch of the Soil Association’s report – ‘Feeding the Animals that Feed Us’. They produced an excellent, concise piece of work on a very big topic. It is, essentially, the invisible impact of the eggs, dairy and meat that you eat.

Others like Yeo Valley, Hi Peak Feeds and Elisabeth Winkler (food writer) think this is important. Why should you care? Things such as rainforest destruction or sneaking in GM food through the back door (through the barn door!?) can be slowed or accelerated by what YOU buy. This is why we’re grass fans.

How important are GM crops today?

25 July, 2010

“The GM companies like to give the impression that food produced from GM crops is widespread, but the truth is rather different. The area of land on which GM crops are being grown is only 2.7% of all agricultural land worldwide. A small proportion of GM crops go directly to feed people, with most going into animal feed, biofuels, or to produce cotton. GM crops weren’t designed to feed the world, but to extend the profitability of the pesticide companies producing them.”

Isobel Tomlinson, Policy and Campaigns Officer at the Soil Association, quoted in Country Smallholding Magazine

FSA bias against organics

16 July, 2010

The Soil Association’s initial reaction to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) research when it was published in July last year was that it as misleading. Having taken detailed scientific advice, the Soil Association is now clear that the research was designed in a way that produced inaccurate conclusions which were then presented by the FSA in a biased and misleading way.

Following meetings with both the Chair and the Chief Executive of the FSA, and at their suggestion, the Soil Association and the Organic Trade Board are raising a large number of concerns about the FSA’s behaviour, and the way the scientist they commissioned went about this research, with the FSA’s General Advisory Committee on Science – hopefully they will report sometime this year.

The FSA’s review contradicted other recent science which has shown significant nutritional differences between organic and non-organic food. A paper will be published shortly in a prestigious scientific journal which examines how these different results were arrived at , and why the FSA’s were wrong. On 20 May this year, the FSA released the raw data on which their scientific conclusions were based – a scandalous 10 months after the research was published, and 7 months after the FSA Chair agreed to do so.

This data will now be reworked by independent scientists, led by Professor Carlo Leifert at Newcastle University, to investigate further how it was that the well-known and widely reported nutritional difference between organic and non-organic food were found to be ‘not significant’ by the FSA research.

This work is not likely to be published in a peer reviewed journal before the end of this year

Food – the big fat lie

22 April, 2010

The ‘big fat lie’ of needing to double global food production by 2050 has dominated policy and media discussions of food and farming, making it increasingly difficult for advocates of sustainable farming methods, such as organic, to convince people we can actually feed the world without more damage to the environment and animal welfare.”
Peter Melchett – Soil Association policy director – 20 April 2010.


“Telling porkies: The big fat lie about doubling food production
More coverage on the Soil Association investigation launched yesterday which reveals that those claiming we need to double global food production are wrong about the figures, are wrong about what the figures apply to, and are wrong to claim that achieving these figures will mean we will feed the hungry or end starvation. Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director, was interviewed on Farming Today alongside Peter Kendell president of the NFU.
Farming Today, BBC Radio 4, listen again (21 April, 00:23 seconds in)
Farmers Guardian (20 April)
Farmers Weekly (20 April) (20 April)
The Ecologist (20 April)
Read the Soil Association press release here (20 April)

Good organic news

5 February, 2010

Provided by the Soil Association press office…

UK Organic Sales Start to Revive After Dip
Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association, said at the Soil Association’s annual conference: “Demand for organic food and drink in Britain is starting to revive after a recession driven decline.”
Flex News Food (4 Feb)
Soil Association calls for UK public to eat less meat
Meat (4 Feb)
Eating local, eating green is the only way to avoid global food crisis, says Soil Association
Bristol 24-7 (4 Feb)
Organic system can off-set ‘food crunch’
Sideways News (4 Feb)

School of Food

11 September, 2009

The Soil Association has launched a scheme called Organic Farm School to run 300 courses about self-sufficiency, gardening and larder skills. Anybody wishing to grow-their-own can gain the confidence and skills they need to get started at these classes, being run with support from the Daylesford Foundation.


Here’s how to book a course:

Smithfield link to flu?

28 April, 2009

 Download the Soil Association press release here. (link)

“as surmised there’s a giant Smithfield’s intensive pig factory-farm near the epicentre of the outbreak….”

“It has long been scientifically accepted that confining very large numbers of animals – be they pigs or
poultry – in close proximity to each other provides the perfect conditions for enabling viruses and other
potential human pathogens to thrive, mutate and become more deadly.”